Analysis: Michigan GOP holds absentee ballot edge

Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Republicans appear to have a 57,455-vote advantage over Democrats in absentee ballots cast in Michigan headed into the final weekend of the election, according to a new analysis of ballots processed through Thursday.

East Lansing-based Practical Political Consulting’s data analysis of absentee ballots returned to municipal clerks shows 310,400 votes were cast by voters who participated in Michigan’s Republican presidential primary in March.

Approximately 252,945 of absentee ballots returned to municipal clerks were cast by voters who voted in the Democratic presidential primary, said Mark Grebner of Practical Political Consulting.

Another 282,371 absentee ballots have been cast by voters who did not vote in the presidential primary, according to Grebner’s analysis of data from the Secretary of State’s office.

About 70 percent of the more than 1.2 million absentee ballots requested by voters have been returned to municipal clerks through Thursday.

Political consultants use the data to predict how well Republican and Democratic candidates may be performing headed into Election Day, though there’s no way to know how people actually voted in individual races, particularly the presidential contest.

Republicans still lag behind Democrats in the percentage of absentee ballots returned — 73.8 percent to 75.6 percent for Democrats — but the gap is narrower than a week ago.

Grebner’s analysis also shows absentee ballots returned in Oakland County tracking closer to Wayne County.

Through Thursday, 143,804 absentee ballots had been returned to clerks in Wayne County and 138,841 were returned in Oakland County, according to Grebner’s analysis of data.

The 4,963-vote difference between Wayne and Oakland county is significant because there’s 382,474 more registered voters in Wayne County than Oakland County.

A total of 197,353 absentee ballots have been sent to Oakland County voters compared to 201,636 sent to Wayne County voters.

Detroit officials expect absentee voting in the state’s largest city to amount to 65,000 votes, down significantly from the nearly 81,000 absentee votes cast there in 2012.

Grebner is a Democrat but works for politicians from both parties.

Absentee voting by mail or in person at a local clerk’s office is expected to represent at least one-quarter of all votes cast in the presidential election.

clivengood@detroitnews.com

(517) 371-3661

Twitter: @ChadLivengood

How voters can get absentee ballots

Registered voters can apply for an absentee ballot through their local city or township clerk if they are:

■Age 60 years old or older.

■Unable to vote without assistance at the polls.

■Expect to be out of town on Nov. 8.

■Are in jail awaiting arraignment or trial.

■Unable to go to the polls on Election Day due to religious reasons.

■Working as an election inspector outside of their precinct of residence.

■Voters can search for their local clerk's contact information online at www.Michigan.gov/vote.

Deadlines

Requests for getting an absent voter ballot mailed to you must be received by a voter's clerk no later than 2 p.m. the Saturday before the election.

Ballots must be returned to the local clerk by 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Source: Michigan Secretary of State